* NSE index falls 0.70%, BSE index 0.67% lower
* IT index slips 0.2% after Cognizant results, outlook
* Auto index falls 0.5% ahead of monthly sales announcement
By Derek Francis
Aug 1 (Reuters) - Indian shares began August on a sombre note on Thursday, tracking losses in broader Asia, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday’s 25 basis-point rate cut was not the start of a lengthy easing cycle that investors were hoping for.
Powell described the rate cut as “a mid-cycle adjustment to policy”, while markets took it as a sign that sharp further cuts were not imminent.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan faltered 0.4%, extending losses for a fifth day to the lowest since mid-June.
In the domestic market, the broader NSE index fell 0.7% to 11,040.60 as of 0445 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index fell 0.67% at 37,227.65.
“Markets were expecting something better from the Fed and that has not happened,” said Neeraj Dewan, a director at Quantum Securities.
Among sectors, the Nifty metals index fell 2% after copper prices hit a 3-week low following the Fed chair’s comments.
The IT index was down 0.2%, after U.S. software services company Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp flagged lower spending by major banking clients in the second half of the year, stoking concerns for the domestic sector that depends heavily on banking clients for revenue.
The Nifty autos index was down 0.5% ahead of the monthly sales announcements scheduled over the first two days of the month.
Meanwhile, weak earnings results for the June-quarter continued to pour cold water on investor sentiment.
UPL Ltd shares fell about 4.7%, after the fertilizer maker reported a profit that missed analysts’ estimates by a big margin. The stock was languishing at the bottom among its Nifty peers at open.
Eicher Motors fell as much as 3.5% to its lowest in over three and a half years, after the motorcycle-to-bus maker reported a weaker-than-expected profit, and flagged continued headwinds to the industry due to weak demand.
Among gainers, Wipro Ltd rose 3.6%, while telecom tower operator Bharti Infratel Ltd rose 2%. (Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)